A developer has been ordered to pay an extra £500,000 towards local infrastructure in Bushey after the company breached regulations and failed to notify the local authority when it had started building work.
An appeal submitted by Bushey-based Heronslea Ltd to the Planning Inspectorate contesting its Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) bill from us was dismissed last week (Thursday 31 December), meaning the company must now pay just over £1.6 million in total to the local authority for infrastructure projects in the area. By law, a developer who undertakes any new development that creates an additional floor space of 100m2 or more, is liable for CIL. The money is then used to help deliver infrastructure to support the development in the area.
Regulations also state a developer must submit a Commencement Notice (CN) to its local authority no later than the day before work begins on a development, which is liable for CIL. In this case, no notice was submitted and our officers only noticed work had begun during a routine visit.
In his report, the Planning Inspector found: “To me, the CIL Regs clearly articulate what must be done by the developer before commencing work on the chargeable development.
“The requirements must be rigidly followed and satisfied in full otherwise a failure to comply has serious consequences and there is little, if any, room for discretion: hindsight has no role.
“Commencing operations before submitting a valid CN and obtaining an acknowledgement receipt from the CA marked a significant turning point in the site’s history.
“While failure to comply with CIL Regs 67 was either an unfortunate event or a highly risky strategy, it is, nevertheless, a flagrant breach of the regulations.”
The company owners had argued that they were only liable for £1.1 million in CIL, because the development of 55 homes off Bushey Hall Drive included affordable housing and qualified for social housing relief.
However, the Planning Inspectorate upheld our decision to remove the relief and include surcharges amounting to over £175,750 for late payment after Heronslea Ltd also failed to pay the levy when they were ordered to in our demand notice.
Cllr Dr Harvey Cohen, Portfolio Holder for Planning, said: “I welcome the Planning Inspector’s decision in this case and hope it serves as an example for others.
“The Community Infrastructure Levy or CIL is an important tool for local authorities to use to support growth in their area.
“We expect all developers working in Hertsmere to meet CIL regulations to the letter. Obviously we’re happy to work with any developers who are unclear about the regulations - our planning team is always available to offer specialist advice.
“However, in this instance, the developer knew the rules and chose to ignore them and now they have incurred a huge bill as a result.
“We’re not prepared to be denied important CIL payments that will be used towards providing classrooms, GP surgeries, community spaces, play areas and other facilities vital for the health and wellbeing of our residents.”
To find out more about CIL in Hertsmere go here.
Funding of up to £5,000 from Hertsmere’s Community Infrastructure Levy Fund is currently available for projects in Potters Bar and Bushey. The funding can be used to support infrastructure and other community needs. Applications should be submitted by March 2021. Find out more here.
Posted on Friday 8th January 2021